Exciting news!! Judah’s story is being used to help inform other parents on the importance of vitamin K! It’s now on the CDC’s website. Check it out!
….Whoa!! Wait a minute!!! Did I just share a CDC website??!
If you know me at all you know I love a good ol’ fashion natural remedy. I love herbs. I love vitamins. I love essential oils. I love chiropractic care and massage therapists and holistic doctors and midwives and home birthing.
I think it’s so cool that I can give arnica (a homeopathic remedy) to my kids after they fall down or bonk themselves and they don’t experience much bruising or swelling. I love applying RC (a Young Living essential oil) to my kids and seeing them breathe better and stop coughing. I love that I can increase calcium and magnesium and drink some coconut water for potassium and the charley horses I experience at night during pregnancy go away! I mean, really! How cool is God that He made all of this available to us?!
But guess what else I now love?! Balance! It’s true, this once hard-core, all natural, home birthing mama is finding balance.
Two and a half years ago, in a matter of minutes, I was launched from an all natural world to a world swarming with medical doctors, hospitals, therapists, specialists and medicine. Whoa! What a complete shock! There was no time to resist the change. I jumped in. I was determined to no longer question the doctors or their advice. Just obey.
But I later realized that I, personally, could not jump from one extreme to the other extreme. I could not jump from all natural home births to fully medicated hospital births (unless under the leading of the Lord or found medically necessary). I could not abandon natural remedies to restock my medicine cabinet with only over-the-counter medicine. There had to be a balance. I could not put 100% blind faith into doctors alone.
Why? Because the medical field is made up of imperfect humans just like myself. Doctors make mistakes too. There isn’t one perfect route to health. There must be balance. For example, after Judah was released from his initial stay in the hospital I noticed that his head circumference was growing rapidly. I began reading about hydrocephalus, measuring Judah’s head, and looking at pictures of other children who had hydrocephalus. I approached four of Judah’s doctors and pointed out how fast Judah’s head had grown. They dismissed my concerns. We called our pediatric neurosurgeon directly and told her how large Judah’s head was. She insisted we not measure his head again since we had not been taught the proper way to do so. She told us we were overly concerned and that we needed to relax and just wait to see her at our next visit. That appointment was not until Judah was three months old.
The moment the surgeon walked into our room at that three-month check-up she instantly knew we had a problem. She sent us downstairs for an MRI, and quickly began the process of figuring out how to schedule Judah for an emergency shunt surgery the very next morning.
A year later, one of Judah’s doctors showed me the MRI’s and pointed out the difference in brain damage from Judah’s initial bleed and from the hydrocephalus. In those 2.5 months of being dismissed by doctors as an overly concerned parent the pressure of built-up fluid on Judah’s brain caused further damage. I was devastated to see the difference and know it could have been avoided.
So now what? Clearly neither side of the fence is perfect, so where do I take it from here? My first step: Forgive and forget the past, and keep my eyes fixed forward. I can’t afford to look back at my mistake or the mistakes of the doctors. Would you know that since sharing publicly of the guilt I struggled with over not administering the vitamin K shot that I have not had one struggle with that guilt ever since??? Praise God! :) And just as my mistake was unintentional I know the doctors’ mistakes were also unintentional. God’s bigger than all of it!
Second step: Pray and find balance. As I move forward I see my need for more wisdom and more prayer surrounding every decision made about the health of my family. I can’t put God in a box. He is not limited to only one way of bringing healing. I have experienced supernatural healing in my body that came instantly in a prayer service. I have witnessed God using a team of medical doctors to save my son’s life. And I have used natural remedies successfully for a number of years……Balance…I am finding that balance…I’m so very appreciative of the doctors and therapists and midwives who have patiently walked with me as I ask questions, seek understanding, and, at times, take some extended time to seek the Lord before jumping in. They’ve recognized that this is a new season for me and I’m thankful for their grace.
And I’m thankful for your grace as well. The way you all have responded to me as I share this journey with you has been a tremendous blessing and encouragement to me. Thank you! :)
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
I don’t like making mistakes…at all! As a girl I’d often fall asleep at night praying God would help me the next morning to have a perfect day with no mistakes. I’d plan to make my bed, put my clothes away, obey everything I was asked to do (with a smile, I might add), perform well in school and in music and simply be perfect for one whole day. Inevitably within minutes of my feet hitting the floor the next morning I had made some sort of mistake and I’d spend the rest of the day beating myself up over it. The day seemed ruined.
It seems funny, but I lived that way for so long – a frustrated perfectionist. Having children exemplified it. Now, not only can I make mistakes that hurt myself, but mistakes that hurt my children. Lord, have mercy!! Like the time I was in the back room of our house lost in a phone conversation with a girl friend not realizing my two little boys were crying and searching for me, sure their mommy had left them. Or the time our family walked into church only to realize we had left a toddler strapped in her car seat still sitting inside the minivan. Sure, it was only a minute, but my heart broke to think she was sitting there so patiently watching us all walk away. Good golly!
Chad has been so patient with me, often saying, “Krista, repeat after me, ‘I FORGIVE KRISTA.’” I’d smile and repeat, “I forgive myself, I forgive myself, I forgive myself…” But often in my heart I knew I hadn’t. I replayed my mistakes over and over. I think one of the hardest things for me to do is simply forgive myself.
My struggle grew out of proportion two and half years ago when I made a decision that some doctors would later tell me they believed could have prevented Judah’s brain injury. This is something I have not shared with many, yet it’s been the darkest part of my journey with Judah. So why do I share it now? Because I’m determined to expose the enemy, the thief, the accuser of the brethren. Because I know that freedom comes in revealing truth, not hiding pain in the dark. Because I’m determined that 2014 is the year the Lord heals my heart, and this is an action step. And I pray that my story will be a blessing to at least one person who may struggle with the same kind of regret.
Judah was born July 15, 2011. We had called him our “praise baby” for months and his labor lived up to that nickname. We praised God for a quick, smooth, beautiful water birth. The children woke up soon after he arrived. They all loved on him for a while then a precious friend stopped by to pick them up for a day of fun so mommy and daddy could rest and bond with Judah. Chad helped pack everything up for the kids while my sweet midwife helped me fill out paperwork and get everything in order. As you know, there are decisions to be made after your baby is born: when to clamp the cord, eye ointment, hepatitis B vaccine and the vitamin K shot, to name a few.
My midwife asked if I’d like to have the vitamin K shot. I said, “no.”
I found myself hesitating for a brief moment. Chad was busy outside of our room so I didn’t have time to confirm with him whether this was still our decision. I dismissed my hesitation and stuck with the answer we had chosen for our past five children. None of my children had received the shot and they had all been fine. . . why was I hesitating? Until Judah, my children had been SO, so healthy. I praise God for their health and see how easily I had taken it for granted. We had never needed an antibiotic in those 10 years prior to Judah. We never experienced an ear infection or anything more than a common cold or seasonal flu. We might have used Tylenol a total of five times in ten years. I truly took for granted how healthy we had been. And my justification continued….I knew I didn’t have the typical risk factors… My labor had been smooth without complications… And did God make every baby deficient in vitamin k? In that moment I didn’t even remember all the reasons we had chosen not to do the shot. I knew that way back when I first had Josiah there was speculation that the vitamin K shot was linked to childhood leukemia (that since has been proven false). I did not do a good job researching the pros and cons of this shot, let alone praying about the decision. And I did not think there was even the slightest possibility of anything wrong happening because of that choice. Certainly a brain hemorrhage was nowhere on the radar.
Fast forward to our 911 call, our 10 days in the NICU, and doctors questioning us. We are thankful they found answers and determined the cause of Judah’s brain hemorrhage to be Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding or VKDB also known as Late Onset Hemorrhagic Disease of the Newborn; but that news came with a sting. “Had you given your baby the shot, this probably would have never happened….” Those words would replay in my mind hundreds and hundreds of times.
Some days are good….others are hard… Some days I feel such grace to see the positives in Judah – the joy and laughter he brings – and to celebrate what he CAN do instead of what he CANNOT do. But then there are days that are so dark I feel paralyzed by the pain of regret. It’s as if the enemy is on my shoulder saying, “Your life would be normal and easy if you would have just given him that one shot. This is all your fault. None of this would have happened if it wasn’t for you.” When I’m not regretting skipping the newborn vitamin K shot, my head fills with other regrets. Why didn’t I catch on sooner that something was wrong? Why didn’t I call 911 sooner? If only we had sought intervention sooner the injury would not have been so devastating. Maybe he’d be fine! Our life would be normal!
While two doctors have blamed Judah’s injury on not administering the vitamin K shot, I’ve had other doctors say that it cannot be proven. They’ve looked me in the eyes and said, “Krista, you cannot live this way. You cannot live with that regret. We don’t know what caused it. And we don’t know for sure if the shot would have prevented it.” Chad has held me in his arms countless times reminding me I cannot live like this. I appreciate all of their words; but I know that freedom from the regret has to be supernatural and from the Lord. It is too big of a hurt for mere words to heal.
Coming into 2014 my one prayer was, “Lord, heal my heart.”
And He’s been working….I sense it….each week becomes easier… I’ve been able to open up and share with others of my struggle and recently able to go forward and ask my pastor for prayer as well. The only words I could get out through my tears was that I was living in regret that I had opened a door to the enemy to so strongly attack my son. He laid hands on me with compassion in his eyes and allowed the Lord to work. As I soaked in the presence of the Lord my heavenly Father started speaking to my heart. “Daughter, every decision you have made for your children has been made out of love. You did not make that decision to harm Judah. You made your decision out of love for him and out of what you thought was best in that moment. You love your children. You love your children. You love your children.”
It was such an epiphany for me. Simple, yet profound and true. In that moment after Judah was born I made the decision out of love. I didn’t wish these circumstances on my son or our family. If I could go back in time and change my decision, would I? Absolutely. But I can’t. I need to move forward.
I have to remind myself that Judah’s injury was not a surprise to God. It’s not like He and His angels were up in heaven wringing their hands in despair when Judah was born saying to each other, “OH NO! What will we do?! They didn’t give Judah the shot!” No, instead, they sent in re-reinforcements. Countless people who were praying and have been praying and standing in the gap for our son, for his complete healing, and for our family. Instead He sees Judah healed, whole and complete, lacking nothing. And He sees Judah’s little spirit that is SO alive unto God. He sees that Judah’s future surpasses his time on earth and this temporal body he’s in to an eternity in heaven with eternal purpose.
God’s working. Not only is He at work in Judah, He’s at work in my heart. And He’s at work in your heart as well. He sees you. He knows you. He is absolutely head over heels in love with you. Every sin, every mistake, whether intentional or not, is completely forgiven and washed in His blood. You are free as well!!!!!
I love you! Thank you for being a part of Judah’s journey….and my own.
“…being confident of this very thing, that he who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6
(Special thanks to a new friend I met through the internet who has been so bold to share with others the importance of the vitamin K shot. Check out her story! Why It Happened: The Truth About Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding.)
Ready for a Judah update? :)
We are gradually easing back into “normal” life after being gone for nearly 3.5 months. It was a much needed getaway for our family. The Lord did so much in our hearts – we are forever grateful! But now it’s time to jump back into therapy and doctor appointments. :) I’ll be taking Judah to Gainesville next week for 4 days of therapy. The following week he’ll see three doctors in Lakeland, Orlando and Tampa. Soon after that he’ll see his rehabilitation specialist and hematologist. Thank you, again, for the support you’ve shown our family to help us cover these medical expenses. Your generosity has blown us away!
We’ll also be jumping back into the hyperbaric chamber soon. Chad has been busy, busy setting it back up. I look back and wonder how in the world I spent two 1.5 hour shifts in that chamber every day. Yikes! But I know we’ll get back into a good routine.
Judah’s social skills seem to improve every single day. It’s a lot of fun seeing his personality continue to emerge. He’s imitating new words and sounds. He’s interacting with his siblings more and even with strangers (if you catch him in the right mood) ;)
“I say yes”
“I see ya”
“Butts” – compliments of his Daddy – Judah loves making us laugh by saying “butts”
He tries his best to sing along with us as we sing “Wheels on the Bus” and “Jesus Loves Me” – it melts my heart!!!! I absolutely love hearing him try to sing. :)
His vision continues to improve. He notices when we walk away from him and lets us know he’s not pleased. :) And when we come into his visual field he says, “Hi!” It’s the cutest thing EVER!
He is more vocal about his preferences, specifically when he wants to go outside. There are times he hears the front door open and close when the other children run out to play and he gets very angry if he’s not immediately taken outside as well. I love that he’s showing us his desires and preferences.
My biggest prayer request at the moment is Judah’s eating abilities. During our trip Judah developed thrush in his mouth. It was painful for him to eat so he figured out a new way of eating. When we’d put the food in his mouth he put his pacifier in his mouth to sooth himself and suck down the food. At the time we were thankful he was eating – in whatever way he needed to. But it’s become a habit that is proving hard to break. We’re looking for a speech therapist who can help Judah learn to eat correctly, to eventually chew and eat textures, and to drink. He doesn’t currently take a bottle or sippy cup. Please agree with us for wisdom and divine direction. All of our steps are ordered of the Lord.
And last but not least, the biggest update of all!! Next June Judah will be a BIG BROTHER!!!! (GASP!) This came as a complete surprise! I admit I’m overwhelmed at the thought of a new baby coming along when Judah still has so many needs. But I also know God can do so much in Judah in the next 7 months. Our children are absolutely thrilled that we are having another child. Isaac cried when he found out and admitted, “I thought you’d never have more babies after what happened to Judah, but I’ve really wanted another brother or sister.” We are thankful for LIFE. We love all of our children dearly – it’ll be exciting to fall in love with Dearey baby #7.
Thank you for being a part of our journey. :)
We love you!
“Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord.” – Psalm 127:3
Here are some before and after pictures from Judah’s MRI. In the back is the original MRI at 3 months old. On the front screen is the MRI from Wednesday. The white area that you see is fluid that filled in where the brain tissue died away. You’ll notice that in the original MRI there is a little bit of brain tissue in the frontal lobe, but the rest was gone. In the front picture you can see considerably less fluid and lots more brain tissue!!!! Our doctor said Judah has grown almost 50% of his brain back!
Praise THE LORD!!!!!!!!!
And further good news is Judah’s vision has improved and his prescription was reduced! Oh Look What The Lord Has Done!!!!!!
Look what the Lord has done for me! Luke 1:25a
Judah!!! Who is your healer??!!! JESUS!!!!
Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. Matthew 9:35
by Chad Dearey
On a day that should mark the celebration of many fathers, many are internalizing this day with pain, confusion, regret, and abandonment. Many sons and daughters are the casualty of a broken home where the dad physically, emotionally, or spiritually checked out. Many look back at their childhood and can only remember the pain. Many fathers are struggling today because they aren’t the father that they hoped to be. They have tried time and time again to become a better man but they are inevitably left with disappointment because they fail in their role. The hardest part is that these men were never taught how to be a father. The greatest gift that was bestowed upon these men was turned over to television, to peers, to the mothers, to any vacuum that would suck the attention of this broken son or daughter.
But You, Daddy, You stepped in. You said no more. You destroyed the veil. The separation that was upon us was torn into two. You delivered to us a Savior. One that gave us unrestricted access to You and Your Fatherhood. You told us that you would never leave us, never forsake us. You promised us. And unlike any man, You have remained true. You saw that we needed a Comforter, a Guide, a lasting Gift and you gave us the Holy Spirit. Thank you Daddy for this day. I celebrate who You are, the life that You have given and the promise of what is to come.
I speak to all of the daughters out there who didn’t have a true Dad. It was not your fault. Your broken pieces can be easily be mended by one touch. Peace, restoration and a sense of belonging are yours today. You have a new Daddy, and every empty memory of your past will be replaced by the joy of another day with your true Daddy.
Men- I speak to you. You have what it takes. You may have failed. You may have turned out distant like your father, but it isn’t too late. Study your Daddy and learn His love. Learn His acceptance, His pleasure, His delight. Your value is not measured in what you do, what you have done, what occupation you have, or how much money you have made. He takes pleasure in you today because you are His. He heals all past wounds now, binds every lie that the enemy has spoken and frees you today from regret. Understand that you will fail and fail again if you continue to work this out on your own. There is a grace that is available so that you can quit striving, working, and fixing only to end up empty-handed. Today this grace is yours.
Young men – your identity is now in Christ. You are important, you are cherished, and you are a mighty man in the making. Today marks the day when your Daddy enters your life healing the scars from your emotional, physical and spiritual pains.
Daddies who are running the race, who are rewarding their children with the true love of our Daddy – thank you, thank you, thank you. You have given much. You have decided that your legacy is more important than your lusts. You have decided to step over from being a male to being a man. You have shown your children that your wife is to be cherished, respected and pursued. You have shown your wife that she can see a daddy who is present and who is laying himself down daily for the glory of lasting treasures. Do not let up, do not slow down, there is a lasting crown that is waiting for you.
The difference between a good dad and a great dad is measured by the degree to which he points his family to Christ. Daddy, I want to be a great dad.
200!!! 200!!! Can you believe it?! Today at 6:30 am I climbed into the chamber for our 200th dive! Amazing!! In less than 6 months we’ve spent approximately 400 hours in the chamber.
Some doctors and therapists have told us not to expect too many results before completing 200 dives; but to expect our best improvements post 200 dives. We are already so thrilled with the improvements we have seen in Judah; and we fully expect to see continued progress in our little man. God is at work!
The most notable changes we see in Judah are:
* He can see! The changes we have seen in Judah’s eye sight have been amazing!! He recognizes us, scans the room, and looks at his toys. It’s thrilling to our hearts! On top of that, MY eyes have improved! My contact lens prescription has reduced and the astigmatism in my eyes is GONE! Praise the Lord!
* He transitions to change easier.
* His overall disposition is happier.
* He desires to move! It is a joy to see Judah strive to move across the floor ~ to roll to his tummy and dig his toes in the carpet in effort to move forward.
* He’s rolling SO WELL in every direction.
* He’s interested in toys! In the past Judah only liked toys that made an interesting noise because he was so dependent on his hearing and not his vision. These days Judah will grab anything he can find (a piece of cloth, a teddy bear, a plastic bowl, a blanket, or a toy) and hold it up in front of his eyes to look at it.
* Not only will Judah look at the toy, he’ll then put it in his mouth. This is a great step to eventually learn to chew and eat textures. I’m so happy to see him explore textures (and fingers) with his mouth.
*Judah babbles! We love his little voice. Sometimes it’s as if he’s carrying on a little conversation with us. SO FUN! He can say hi, dada, mama, doodah (repeats when we tell him to say Judah), stinky, yucky, ya or yes, and shake his head no. And many times a day he is imitating our sounds. When we sing to him he’ll often try to sing along. I love it! :)
Throughout the day, it’s common to hear Judah calling for Daddy. :)
Today I told Judah to say, “Ha, ha, ha! ” He repeated perfectly! Next I said, “Say Ho, ho, ho!” And he repeated perfectly! He’s learning EVERY day! And he’s interacting with others more and more.
Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, to all of you who made the dream of purchasing this hyperbaric oxygen chamber a reality. You are all a part of these victories!!
Here’s a little clip of our celebration in the chamber this morning. :) “Weeeeee!!!”
But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I Cor. 15:57
We had a fun, successful weekend of six ABM sessions in Gainesville. Judah responded well and was an absolute delight. It’s hard to remember that when we first started our trips to Gainesville he often cried and needed lots of comfort. Now he shows excitement to see Mrs. Josie and enjoys his appointments. It thrills my heart!
Last night when we returned home from Gainesville Judah was playing with his toys on the floor. He’d roll to his tummy and kick his legs to try to move. (Looked like a fish out of water- so cute!) He was acting frustrated that he wasn’t getting anywhere so I knelt down next to him and showed him how to move forward as he learned during his ABM sessions. As soon as I helped him move forward he was happy. This is the first time Judah’s shown enjoyment and desire to move like that. In the past we’ve forced him to move and crawl, but now it’s HIS desire and motivation.
For in him we live and move and have our being. Acts 17:28
Judah’s brain hemorrhages greatly affected his vision; not only his ability to see, but his ability to understand what he saw. For instance, when I’d show him his pacifier he’d sometimes notice it, but could not recognize what it was. It held no meaning to him so he did not reach for it. But if I shook the pacifier, he’d hear the sound of the handle clicking and look for it with his right hand. And if I’d rub the pacifier on his arm he’d recognize it by touch and find it. It’s truly amazing how his other senses made up the difference where his vision lacked. For almost two years we’ve practiced holding the pacifier in front of Judah’s eyes and asking him if he wanted it. We knew that some day he’d SEE the pacifier, KNOW what it was, and REACH for it.
That day came this week!! Praise God for His healing power!! We’re having so much fun holding Judah’s paci in different places to test where he can see it and whether he’ll reach for it. We are watching Judah’s healing unfold right before our eyes!
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Isaiah 35:5
Then our mouth was filled with laughter
And our tongue with joyful shouting;
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
Once upon a time, little Judah suffered two spontaneous brain hemorrhages. The bigger of the two bleeds left him unable to see anything but light. Gradually, Judah’s eyesight began to return; yet we were reminded that the bleeds also damaged the part of the brain that enables Judah to understand what he is seeing.
But today, I can boldly say that Judah CAN see!! And he is understanding more and more of what he is seeing!
Check out this video from this afternoon:
One of my favorite parts of my day is sneaking up on Judah and watching him recognize my face and say, “hi!” I absolutely love it! After months of wondering if he’d ever see my face, these moments are true treasures to my heart.
Thank you, Father!
Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.” Matthew 11:4-5
Recently I posted a video showing Judah intentionally rolling from his back to tummy and ENJOYING tummy time. At that time he used his right leg to push off the floor and roll himself over. This morning, however, he rolled over 6 or 7 times using his left side to roll to his tummy!
Initially, after his brain injury, his left side was considered paralyzed, yet today he used it like a pro. Praise God for all He has done, all He is doing, and all that is to come!
Here’s a video clip from this evening. He’s enjoying his new ability to roll in any direction he pleases. I love it!
“Comparison is the thief of joy.”
I’ve heard this quote many times and it’s often caused me to pause for a moment of self-reflection. But this quote has taken on new meaning in the past 20 months. Comparing my child who’s had a brain injury to a child the same age who has not had a brain injury will most definitely steal my joy.
I think we’ve all had moments we’ve compared our children to others, especially when trying to determine if they’re hitting their developmental milestones on time. However, I’ve found in this season, more than any other, that I cannot allow myself to do this. Nehemiah 8:10 tells me that the joy of the Lord is my strength. It’s no coincidence the enemy would target my joy, is it? He wants to strip me of my strength. I cannot look at development charts that tell me the many things Judah should be able to do by now. I cannot compare him to other children his age who are walking, feeding themselves, and talking. I have to keep my eyes focused on the victories and not the defeats. I need to keep my eyes fixed on God’s Word, His promises, and what He declares about my son. He sees my son healed and whole. He sees my son perfect, complete, lacking nothing. And as I keep my eyes on Him, His love for me, and His love for Judah I find my joy, my peace, and the endurance I need to continue this good fight of faith.
“for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10b